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You May Be Drinking Coffee All Wrong

The sweet taste of coffee as it first touches your lips is an irresistible pleasure of life.

Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are enjoyed in the world every day, it being one of the most consumed beverages across the globe. And understandably so. Coffee’s popularity is attributable to its effects on the nervous system (1), including its ability to increase rates of dopamine release in the anterior cingulate gyrus aka. the frontal part of your squishy brain mass (2). As such, coffee receives a fair amount of air time in your life, whether you drink it or not. Coffee meetings, brunch lattes, morning percolator goodness, cafe runs at your office. It’s everywhere.

You may have, like the majority of coffee drinkers, at some stage in your obsession decided to give it a rest for a while. Take a temporary hiatus. Or for the most extreme personalities, have announced your breakup (for good). A month later on a lonely Tuesday, you come across a study published in the Harvard Journal, that shows a ‘positive correlation between coffee consumption and cardiovascular health’. The next day you are back on team coffee and couldn’t be happier to spend your life waking up to a big steaming pot of the stuff.

But how about, instead of having a whirlwind fling with coffee, where your consumption wains and your love goes from hot to cold, why not try fixing the way you drink coffee?

Coffee with a side of fat

Adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your coffee slows the uptake of caffeine into your system. This means less jitters, reduced stomach pangs and a longer enjoyment time of the slow release coffee. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, which means at temperatures under 24 degrees it becomes a solid. It will, like butter, melt the first moment it comes into contact with your coffee. What you are left with is a surprisingly smooth and rather satisfying beverage with next to no caffeine induced side effects. Give it a go, see how it works for you and rock a jar or coconut oil in your daily routine because coffee jitters are just not that cool.

Timing counts when consuming coffee

According to a 2009 study by The Journal of Endocrine Medicine (4) your adrenal glands produce cortisol in larger amounts at around 8am, around 1pm and again at about 6pm. If you are coupling a body full of cortisol with a cup full of caffeine, the results kinda speak for themselves. Your mind becomes a powerhouse of anxiety, energy and scattered thoughts which leave you feeling one part inspired by life and 10 parts wondering how this coffee high is going to play out on the rest of your day. By consuming coffee outside of the cortisol windows you will avoid the heightened response of caffeine in the body. So don’t go without, but rather hold out till the right time instead.

Coffee and you, let’s make it work

Just because it tastes so damn good and has a marked effect on your energy levels doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing. Yes, you can consume coffee daily if it suits you, your body and what is happening in your life on that day. However it’s not always the most suitable choice. Think back to the last project meeting you had, a first date or an important deadline. There are those times we think ‘in hindsight I probably should not have had that second coffee’. And in thinking this you are completely right.

There are times that coffee just doesn’t work for us, even if most of the time it does.

Know your body, think about the day ahead and choose your hot beverage accordingly. Future you will thank you for it. Be sensible with your consumption and make friends with your latte, because flings don’t last but long term relationships do.

Jennifer Ward, Adv dip Nat, BCom Econ, Masters Repro Med (studying)
Jennifer is a qualified naturopath with a focus on fertility, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances.

Learn more about Jennifer here
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  1. Nehlig A, Daval JL, Debry G. Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1992;17:139–70. [PubMed]
  2. Daly JW, Fredholm BB. Caffeine: an atypical drug of dependence. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1998;5:199–206. [PubMed]
  3. Ponte, Stefano (2002). “The ‘Latte Revolution’? Regulation, Markets and Consumption in the Global Coffee Chain”. World Development (Elsevier Science Ltd.) 30: 1099–1122. doi:10.1016/S0305-750X(02)00032-3. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  4. Debono M., Ghobadi C., Rostami-Hodjegan A., Huatan H., Campbell M.J., Newell-Price J., et al. (2009)Modified-release hydrocortisone to provide circadian cortisol profiles. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 94: 1548–1554